A virtual reality headset that allows you to smell; a smart mirror that tells you whether you are brushing your teeth properly; a refrigerator that can change colors to suit your mood for the moment; an autonomous tractor that allows farmers to operate from their smartphones …
Those are just a few examples of the latest technologies of wearables, smart-home gadgets, appliances, cars and even machinery to be shown at this year”s CES.
Formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, the largest technology exhibition in the world went online in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CES 2022 saw a quarter of the event’s typical attendance.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organizes the CES, expected the attendance to hit 100,000, over 70 percent more than last year.
This year, digital transformation continues to intensify across industries. “Born out of the health crisis over the past two to three years, we’re entering into a new phase of automation and virtualization,” said Steve Koenig, vice-president of research at CTA, at a conference ahead of the CES, which officially runs from Thursday through Sunday.
“We’re going to see progressively more and more industrial IoT (internet of things) applications across the rest of the economy,” said Koenig, highlighting the concept of “the Metaverse of Things”.
Metaverse is a 3D interface for IoT, in which people can experience life in ways they could not in the physical world. Though it’s often met with skepticism, Koenig said metaverse is the next generation of the internet, and CES 2023 will be evidence that metaverse provides an elevated online experience and an elevated sense of immersion.
In retail space, for instance, the virtualized 3D interactive environment can improve the online shopping experience with Touchcast, a virtual experience and event platform.
“Whether we’re shopping for a computer or a new pair of sneakers, we can have a cutaway of the shoes to see exactly how this foam protects the runner’s foot, or we can look inside the machine and see exactly how things are working,” Koenig explained.
Automotive technology has taken central stage at past events, and that sector will be bigger this year, with nearly 300 exhibitors bringing the latest self-driving technologies, electric vehicles and personal mobility devices.
John Deere’s autonomous tractor, an awardee of the CES’ Best of Innovations, is an advanced robot that uses GPS guidance, sensors and AI technology to perform farm tasks without an operator in the cabin, which helps address the growing labor shortage.
Digital therapeutics is in full force at CES this year. Telemedicine and telehealth are getting more attention during the pandemic with more sensors, wearables and other diagnostic tools are coming in.
Abbott’s Proclaim Plus therapeutic system, another winner of the CES innovation award, is an example of advanced therapies using technology to manage pain. SK Zero Glasses, a wearable with sensors, can predict epileptic seizures.
Telemedicine is not just about managing chronic disease or visits with doctors. It’s also about health and fitness. It’s useful for remote patient monitoring: Instead of staying in the hospital for days after an operation, a patient can be monitored at home. For mental wellness purposes, the technology can be used to manage anxiety by monitoring depression.
Sustainability will be front and center for hundreds of exhibitors at this year’s CES, featuring technologies that can conserve energy and increase power generation, address food shortages and create more sustainable agricultural systems.
ACWA Robotics’ intelligent robot can save millions of cubic meters of water and help optimize cities’ water infrastructure investments as a clean water pathfinder. LeydenJar’s pure silicon anodes help conserve the environment, as silicone is neutral for the environment.
ZF Group’s “Heat Belt” contact-heating device enables lower settings for cabin heating to conserve energy and help extend electric-vehicle range.
This year’s CES comes on the heels of a tough year for the tech industry, with disrupted supply chains, decades’ high inflation, and widespread layoffs. For the first time, the CES has a theme — how technology is addressing the world’s biggest challenges.
For the global challenges, such as climate change, health crises, shortages of energy and labor, people can find answers in technology, said Koenig.
“During these periods of economic downturn, innovation tends to accelerate and even punch up,” said Koenig. using the Great Recession in 2008 as an example. The last economic downturn around 2008 brought new waves of technology innovation, such as the arrival of the 4G and LTE network, and the advancement of smartphones, he added.
“This time, I think the powerful new waves of technological change that really remedy inflation and restore growth, global GDP growth, will really come from the enterprise side,” said Koenig.